By: Justin Ambago Ramba
July 29, 2012 (SSNA) — Undoubtedly there is much to learn when it comes to the politics of the Sudan once the giant of the continent of Africa with one million square kilometers in area and now broken into two hostile neighboring countries by the politics of greed in the center. Since then many for absolutely logical reasons have expected a divergence from this very policies that led to this incidence in the first place at least for the sake of stability and peace. But did that happen? Unfortunately not and the answer sadly enough remains a big NO!
For that matter a keen observer will never miss to acknowledge that since the independence of what is today the sovereign Republic of South Sudan things have paradoxically moved in the direction that can rightly be referred to as the intense urge to destroy one another. Hence any external attempt to disregard the geopolitical realities on the ground and without the due consideration of the new dispensation as seen from a truly Sudanese view point – any hastily imposed scenario on any or both sides of the political divide will obviously remain unrealistic and unattainable.
No person in their sound state of mind will deny how the two sovereign Sudans are socio-economically interdependent given not only their history, but even their geographical proximity with a common border of over 2011 kilometers and a Transhuman economy that will never conform to any rigid border regulations if the communities in the vicinity are ever to survive. It is this interdependency that keeps the citizens of the two countries especially those who live along the disputed border areas to remain forever caught up in crises whenever the political barometer reads otherwise. Could the independence of South Sudan if well approached by both governments not become a cementing factor to the dependence of one party on the other by encouraging border trade and peaceful interactions? So why are things not working this way?
No short cut to freedom:
If the so-called international community is only interested in a peaceful world without addressing the root causes of the problems that often manifest themselves as regional instability, civil wars or under-development, then it is better they forget about the whole thing all together. It’s easy to stop a fight but you can only guarantee that no new fights erupt again when and only when you are done with what led to the initial fight in the first place.
When the people of South Sudan chose independence in the internationally supervised referendum by a percentage well over 98.9% in the January 2011 plebiscite following a half a century of misrule by Khartoum, it is a thing that the international community, the US administration and needless to say the government of the Peoples’ Republic of China should have taken seriously. And I hope they did.
The true nature of the south-north relationship in the pre and post secession is one that can never be described as amicable. Even the current political parties – the SPLM and the NCP which are the ruling parties in South Sudan and the Sudan respectively had failed all along the interim period of the CPA , not only to work together as peace partners, but even went further to fail the realization of the core spirit of the agreement which are democratic transformation , multipartism, and civil liberties.
With China and the US government seemingly insistent on a strictly connected economy between the two post secession Sudans as if there weren’t any tangible reasons to justify the South Sudanese quest for independence from the Arab Islamic north is in itself a bad politics. This is an important point to stress here and it is only by acknowledging that the distrust between the two sides runs too deep for any joint economy to thrive, any of these fancy talks of exporting South Sudan’s crude Oil through the the Republic of Sudan [Khartoum] under the NCP is at its best a mere academic argument.
Issues that impact negatively on resumption of SS/S relationship:
The Sudan problem as rightly diagnosed by the late SPLM/A founder Dr. John Garang de Mabior, lies in the center which till then was Khartoum. Surprisingly though even after the independence of South Sudan much of the problems devastating the region still can be traced back to Khartoum and the Sudan Republican Palace, a traditional birthplace of chauvinistic politics.
Looking at the situation in the two Sudans, one can see that instability in the region is by large a result of Khartoum’s failure to establish a genuine and credible relationship with its peripheries (Darfur- Kordofan- Blue Nile – Eastern Sudan and the Northern region of Nubia) and its southern neighbor with which it shares the longest border line of over 2011 kilometers.
The fact that South Sudan seceded with a total vote of over 98.8% in favor of that decision is one thing that the NIF aka NCP should probably revisit and analyze in depth. This is important because as things stand, all Sudanese have come to see the NCP as the one odd thing in the whole political equation given its records in the North/South War, the failure to implement the CPA to the spirit and the letter of the agreement, its genocide campaign in Darfur and the ethnic cleansing currently being pursued in both South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states.
Given the fact that the SPLM hasn’t either impressed the grassroots in the nascent republic of South Sudan because of its records of massive corruption and embezzlement of public funds, it too is unpopular and if the people were to fairly chose on both sides of the political divide , the net outcome would be a massive NO vote for both the kleptocratic regimes in Juba and Khartoum.
On the other hand one cannot down-play the fact that the SPLM may enjoy some support amongst a couple the Northern Sudan opposition parties and armed groups currently fighting the central government in Khartoum and share their opposition to the NCP. However Khartoum which responded aggressively and inhumanely towards South Sudanese residing in the Sudan during the immediate post-referendum period especially following its outcome, by stripping them not only of their rights to residence, but also confiscating their properties, terminating their jobs and pushing them to live in open spaces under very harsh conditions of scorching heat and sandstorms – this regime cannot reciprocate the same privilege amongst the South Sudanese except maybe for a few sell-outs.
No way can NCP find genuine friends in South Sudan who would share its views about the North / South politics and relationships and this only reinforces the over-all need to remove the NCP government in Khartoum if the two neighbors of South Sudan and the Sudan are ever to establish a peaceful neighborly relationship.
Why are negotiations in Addis Ababa not progressing:
It is important to understand why the NCP has sent its delegation to Addis Ababa after it had initially rejected any negotiations with the government of South Sudan following the Panthpou (Heglig) skirmishes. NCP by nature like any other religion based political party depends largely on playing the “We are on God’s side” card to lure its supports into submission. However now the Sudan is no longer what it used to be with South Sudan gone its way , the Darfuris, the cattle rearing tribes of Messairiya and Rezeigat almost out of control, the disintegration of the once strong killing machine – the Janjaweed- the extensive rebellion in the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile regions, the northern riparian ‘Jallaba’ will have to fight their own war to remain in power in Khartoum.
The coming together of the Darfuri rebel groups and the SPLM/A North to form the Sudan Revolutionary Front [SRF] is one huge step in the right direction ever to be achieved by the marginalized people of the republic of the Sudan. This is set to send a strong and clear message to the NCP in Khartoum that the 28th June 2011 Addis Ababa truce signed between Dr. Nafie Ali Nafie for the government of Sudan and Malik Agar Eyre for the SPLM/A North and then rejected by the Islamists in the Sudan Armed Forces[SAF] and the ultra racists the likes of El Tayeb Mustafa, is now an outdated document only good for historical reference.
Any new approach thereafter to bring peace in Sudan will have to take into consideration that Khartoum will be negotiating with the Sudan Revolutionary Front and NO more SLM/MM or JEM (-/+) sub-groups NOR a separate SPLM/A North neither a separate group in the Nuba Mountains and another for the Blue Nile State. Those days are over, and the African Union, the US administration, as well as the UNSC, all need to update their records before their efforts become irrelevant.
In a nutshell, the 2005 CPA remains viable only in the context of the Sudan and the South Sudan States and to an extend to the enclave of Abyei region which is awaiting to carry out its referendum in which the indigenous inhabitants of the Dinka Ngok and other long time permanent resident of the district will vote to determine either to remain a part of Sudan or join the newly independent South Sudan? But for the people of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states the CPA is a document of the past and completely irrelevant to the stage to which the problem has moved. The ill-defined and ambiguous so-called Popular consultations was in fact an ill understood concept which the people of these two regions felt abused by it.
Do we think that the NCP doesn’t know all these? Of course they do. And it is because they know well that things have moved ahead, the NCP delegation at the Addis Ababa negotiations with the government of South Sudan is trying to use the Oil issue to drag the Republic of South Sudan [RSS] into what is purely a Sudan (North) problem by requesting the former to assist in disarming both the Darfuri and SPLA/North rebels whom they assume to be operating from the RSS territories.
Khartoum’s negotiating maneuvers is a tested Jallaba strategy which Khartoum applied to the government of Idris Deby of Tchad who in an exchange for the daughter of the Janjaweed warlord Musa Hilali – (Amani Hilali) – immediately severed his ties with his cousin late Dr. Khalil Ibrahim the assassinated JEM leader who was killed in northern Kordofan after having made it alive from the house arrest in Tripoli under Colonel Muamar al Gadafi.
With Amani (Hilali) Deby now rumored to have been divorced after only seven months following a record breaking dowery of staggering £25 million dollars, who know whether Khartoum isn’t putting her back into the market to hook the SPLM leadership in Juba into yet another political marriage and hopefully seeing an end to any support that either the Darfuri or the SPLA/N rebels are currently enjoying from Juba?
NCP never seems to mince its words when it comes to how it can reach an agreement with the SPLM led government in Juba. They consistently say that security first and to them it means Juba not only severing its ties with the Darfuri and the SPLA/N rebels, but should also disarm them and if possible hand them over in hand cuffs to Khartoum. Unfortunately the SPLM/A leadership understands what it means to betray a friend if at all one can describe the current relationship between the northern rebels and the government of South Sudan in that context.
The whole story goes back to the overthrow of Colonel Mangistu Haile Mariam’s regime in Ethiopia in the 1991. And although it could now be seen by many as a blessing in disguise as far as the South Sudasnese’s choice of independence is concerned, yet the immediate impact of that political shift had a massive impact on the SPLM/A both political and humanitarian at least at that time. No way can the mother organization [SPLM/A] be forced to subject its fellow comrades to the same situation that they had jointly once faced and only survived it through the goodwill and generosity of yet another sisterly country no other than Uganda under the leadership of Yuweri Museveni. History is there to judge us.
Khartoum knows well that by allowing Abyei go to South Sudan, it won’t have any pressure card in its hand with which to hold Juba at check should the joint rebel groups prove to be stronger any time. Secondly South Sudan without Oil industry is just the right scenario that the NCP would want to see and thank God that the final decision to shut down the Oil came from no other but the South Sudanese leadership themselves. At this critical moment, Khartoum knows that a rich government in Juba will never hesitate to splash money to anyone one who stands up to oppose the NCP regime. Hence it is only logical that Khartoum uses its pipelines to turn Juba against the northern rebels and in that way it will have just got for itself another ‘Idris Deby’ regardless of the details.
Looking into what the South Sudan’s chief negotiator Pagan Amum, calls an attractive new offer in which Juba offers to pay Khartoum an amount of 9.10 US dollars for every barrel of oil that passes through pipelines owned by the China-led Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), and 7.26 US dollars for every barrel of oil that passes through PetroDar pipelines. Is this the last kicks of a dying horse?
And again Amum went on to suggest an annual compensation package of 3.2 billion US dollars to help Sudan cover a budget deficit resulting from the loss of three quarters of its oil production to South Sudan when the latter seceded in July last year. At this one is left without a choice but to actually join the millions of South Sudanese masses in their disapproval of the entire business while our people are suffering and dying without shelter , food or clean drinking water which costs only a small fraction of what P’agan Amum is recklessly offering to Khartoum.
The SPLM official went on to suggest that, "In the interest of peace, South Sudan is offering generous financial transfers to Sudan," the proposed offer read. Well the truth is that his government is now financially caught between the rock and the hard place following the corruption and embezzlement spree across the government departments manned mostly by officials high up in the ruling SPLM party . To love peace doesn’t go well will a system that steals from its own coffers.
The financial package, worth $8.2 billion over three years, includes a cash payment and debt forgiveness to help fill the massive financial gap Sudan reported after the South gained independence last July.
"This is a fair and balanced agreement where each nation will benefit," it added, noting the South was willing to pay up to $9.10 a barrel to transit its premium-quality oil through Sudan, with lower fees for poorer quality oil.
Khartoum had earlier demanded as much as $36 per barrel.
"We propose to immediately resume our exports of oil through Sudan in return for fair, reasonable transportation fees," Amum said.
Thanks to God that our Oil is never going to flow through the Jallaba soil as long as the NCP is in power in Khartoum, because the struggle for power in Khartoum has gone beyond the South Sudan’s Oil. Let us not make that mistake where we can’t see the forest for the trees. For P’agan can go on making his so-called generous offers, however the bottom line is that none of it is ever going to be accepted by Khartoum.
The Khartoum government under the NCP as we all know will only be satisfied if they succeed in marrying “Amani Musa Hilali” to either Cdr. Amun Akech or to his boss non other but President Kiir Mayardit to be followed by the rest of the ‘Idris Deby story’ which you all know. This is far known, why then is Amum Akech lifting our blood pressure over a crystal clear issue. Either he marries ‘Amani Musa Hilali’ and the package policies that come with it or he goes back and constructs the East African pipeline to the Indian Ocean.
In conclusion I will try to shed some light on the main reason that drove me into writing this article in the first place. We all know that the UNSC has warned the two nations of the risk of facing sanctions should they fail to strike a comprehensive deal before 2nd August 2012. The period at their disposal was exactly three months i.e. 90 days and 90 nights from 2nd May 2012. Maybe this time around the UNSC has come out for the first time to threaten sanctions in as far as the South Sudan/Sudan peace deal in concerned, a step if introduced as early as 2007 would have saved a great deal.
Sudan (Khartoum) a country that has all through survived under US sanctions since the ruling clique came to power in a bloodless coup in 30th June 1989 makes it is difficult to understand how the UNSC thinks that this regime – a darling to Beijing and Tehran will ever be bothered by the so-called sanctions. They have for over two decades lived under sanctions and have developed collateral ways of surviving it. Secondly seeing from the Syrian experience, Khartoum is aware that as long as the so-called international community remains galvanized between US-Britain and France on one side and Russia & China on the other – whatever the UNSC intends to do, it will always be checked by the latter’s vetos in favor of Khartoum as it is the case now with Bashar’s Syria.
As for the SPLM led government in Juba, the UNSC sanction doesn’t really go well, but nonetheless it is not much a deal to worry about. The UNSC needs to understand that it was the President of the republic of South Sudan, General Salva Kiir Mayardit who decided to shut down the country’s 350,000 daily barrels Oil Industry.
He [the President] is also aware that Oil constituted well over 98% of his country’s income, yet he chose to go ahead and turn off the tape. By threatening to impose some kind of sanctions on a person who preceded that step by consciously choosing to sanction his own nation and the hapless millions of the population at a very sensitive period of its history cannot be intimidated by some kind of threats inform of a UNSC sanctions. How does the UNSC intend to over sanction someone who has already sanctioned himself – this I don’t understand?
Tactically Khartoum and Juba can easily escape the 2nd August 2012 deadline and that’s not a rocket science for all they need is to reach some kind of a loose agreement on the buffer zone or show something in that direction and the UNSC will find itself deferring the so-called sanctions. Khartoum has nothing to lose at this particular moment and every moment it buys to remain in power is worth what it takes. However it must by now become clear to the leadership in Khartoum that any agreement if at all it will ever reach with the northern rebels will be anything but the outdated Popular Consultations.
In a way even the 2005 CPA will be dwarfed this time around if a settlement is to come between Khartoum and the margins (Darfur – South Kordofan – Blue Nile). This kind of settlement may well take sometime to realize and somewhere along the way the NCP regime may even eventually vanish altogether like many other totalitarian regimes before it , but a definitive solution as seen through the eyes of the Sudanese of the margin, based on the South Sudan experience, will be to seek every available means to come to power and rule the Sudan itself from the’ Republican Palace’ – that old colonial style building by the banks of the Blue Nile River in the heart of Khartoum City which so far has exclusively been controlled by northern riparian ‘Jallaba’.
As for Juba the job has been made easier for the time being by the widespread chaos in the Middle East and especially so in the Arab World where with the exception of Tunisia , all the other so-called Arab springs have so far brought in more internal confusion than any of this rhetoric about the infamous Pan Arab nationalism of the sixties and the seventies. There is much that the Arab Sunnis and their Shiite rivals would want to settle and Khartoum may want to find a place for it somewhere there. Any dreams of a southward expansion of Arabism and Islamism are suspended for the time being as well in favor of the Wahabis sponsored Islamic terrorism (Al Shabab – Boko Haram – Sudanese Popular Defense Forces[PDF] ………….etc ) . None of these can have any tangible impact on the sovereignty of the state of South Sudan whatsoever given the current day global politics.
Despite all the aforementioned arguments, Juba remains unstable internally. Even the city that holds the seat of the government is not a safe place either, although all these are internally motivated issues and a true reflection of the poor governance style. The SPLM led government undeniably is running at minus in as far as its performance is concerned making South Sudan a country on the verge of a political and socioeconomic implosion given the style adopted by its ruling SPLM elites.
The country has largely or even entirely depended on Oil and possibly the declared 98% dependence on Oil was even an underestimation for there is even nothing to account for the remaining 2% since it had been an open secret that entrenched corruption by the SPLA – Generals and their agents at the border stations have often led to pocketing the little revenues collected on imported goods and trans-border trade since 2005 to date. Even the foreign currency reserve on which President Salva Kiir based his decision to abruptly shut down the Oil production has since been mismanaged and embezzled. The government is now bankrupt as rightly forecasted earlier by the international monetary fund [IMF].
But can South Sudan survive without enough hard currency? Yes of course it can and it will survive. After all Uganda under Idi Amin, Zaire under Mobutu, CAR under Bokassa, Zimbabwe under Bob Mugabe all passed through similar experiences of acute shortages in the foreign currencies, higher inflation rates, and extremely valueless local currencies, yet they survived albeit tough times and poor quality of life all over the country. Unfortunately of course this is not what we fought to achieve nor did our loved ones the “Martyrs” died just to see us sink into more poverty and misery!
This article is never intended to underrate the declared sanctions under the Chapter Seven of the UN Charter. The UN resolution 2046 requests both Juba and Khartoum to reach a comprehensive solution to all the out-standing issues and at the same time it calls upon the government of Sudan to as well reach an agreement with the SPLM/A North on the creation of humanitarian corridors to the two War affected states of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. These are directly under the articles  and  of the chapter seven.
I quote the document:
“The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations.”
“Should the Security Council consider that measures provided for in Article 41 would be inadequate or have proved to be inadequate, it may take such action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary to maintain or restore international peace and security. Such action may include demonstrations, blockade, and other operations by air, sea, or land forces of Members of the United Nations”
The UNSC and the AU will both lose their credibility if no side in the Sudanese Crises is punished in the event of failure to reach and implement a solution to issues of border demarcation, border security and the full implementation of the Abyei Protocol [referendum] based on the Permanent Court of Arbitration [PCA] which defined the precise territory of the nine Ngok chieftains.
In conclusion one would have only wished South Sudan a better leadership at this crucial moment not those who continue to corrupt and steal while the entire nation is passing through the most defining moments in its history. No doubt South Sudan has also been let down by the so-called friends when they chose not to investigate and punish those officials who embezzled the plus $4 billion dollars from the public coffers despite the fact that their country’s constitutions allow for that.
May be it is time for our people to learn and understand this one crucial lesson : “ The so-called liberators don’t really know it all as they claim to have”. Hopefully the grassroots will have to decide preferably even before the year 2015 to rid South Sudan of its current pathetic leadership.
At this point in time not even anyone of my kind should be preaching the gospel of change since it has become abundantly clear that it is the only thing that the country urgently needs and the time is now. A final call to the young people of the land,” Dear compatriots wherever you are, the need for change in South Sudan is long over-due”. “It has become a non arguable inevitability”! Wake-up the motherland is sinking fast!
Those who understand how the UNSC works, they know that the same international organization was instrumental in the ICC warrant to arrest President Bashir of Sudan over War crimes committed in Darfur, yet it has done absolutely nothing to arrest him. So how do we really count on this same organization to land any punishment on his regime this time around?
Author: Dr. Justin Ambago Ramba. He can be reached at: [email protected] or [email protected] or [email protected]